I thought I’d wait a few days to write about the devastating fire in Paris of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The reason is I wanted to see how many conspiracy theorists came out of the woodwork, blaming of course, Muslims for the fire. I wasn’t disappointed. Of course, yes, there have been numerous Christian churches defaced in recent months, but to try and assign blame of this awful incident to Muslims, seems like a leap. Remember, it was being renovated and without any evidence of arson, it may easily be placed in the category of being an accident.
I’ve been viewing my timeline on Twitter and have noticed many atheists there despairing the loss of a work of art. The Cathedral was just that, but also more. It was an engineering marvel. Think about it: The construction began in 1160 CE and wasn’t completed for 200 years. The generations of architects and builders had just a single objective; Raising a great edifice to God. Yes. that’s what it was about and the finished product outlasted centuries of rulers and regimes. Notre Dame was not only a piece of history, but a witness to it as well. Notre Dame was the tallest building in Paris until the Eiffel Tower, which was completed in 1889. For five centuries, Parisians would leave their homes, look at their skyline, and see a magnificent cathedral.
Some 13 million people a year visited Notre Dame. It was on the list for anyone who’s ever been a tourist in France. It was for me. I remember, being in line, as I came close to the building, I walked out of line to touch the original stones. I tried to imagine, those people more tan 800 years earlier, the sweat, the tears, to even begin a building that those in 1160, would never see the result.
Of course, there’s already been, as of this writing, more than $300 million pledged for the restoration. It may actually be more by now. But Notre Dame will never be what it was. The architects, masons, carpenters, glazers, and artists from those centuries ago can never be equalled. Future generations may still visit Notre Dame, but it won’t be the same cathedral that their ancestors knew.
We may all mourn the loss of this piece of history. Some may decry the loss as an affront to their religious belief. What we should be mourning is the loss being that of the excellence of human innovation.